Your new employee has the skills you were looking for and is dedicated to doing the job well. The challenging part for a person with Asperger Syndrome is the less structured, more social aspects of office culture. Small talk, picking up what others are thinking, and being imaginative about solving problems are challenging for people with Asperger Syndrome. Following are seven straightforward tips to help them thrive.
1. Be precise and specific with your instructions. Slang and expressions of speech may not translate to what you want to communicate. Details and examples help. “This is how it should look when it is done. "
2. Encourage your employee to come up with some process strategies for doing his job. For example, he might work well by recording tasks on a template he creates with visuals, spacing or organization that makes good sense to him.
3. Help her relax about asking for help on the job. Disability acts encourage people to discuss the modifications they need in the work place. However, there is often hesitation because of the fear that disclosure will be a stigma or put the job in jeopardy. You want to be receptive, should your employee want to ask for an accommodation that will help her work better.
4. Encourage co-workers to have a collaborative office culture when it comes to helping out each other. Your employee with Asperger Syndrome will have strengths that will be an asset to your team. Helping others in the office by lending a hand with one’s own talents helps him connect socially with office mates.
5. Don’t let the diagnosis ‘asperger’ or ‘autism’ be a defining characteristic of your employee; it is one aspect of who this person is. The diagnosis becomes important for you to know when it helps you to help your employee shine on the job.
6. Be open to someone who may be a support person in the personal life of your employee with Asperger Syndrome. Some parents stay involved a little longer in the life of their adult child, as an advocate in the background. Until your employee initiates the conversation about bringing in his advocate, remember to build trust through messages that convey you value his work. Some young adults with Asperger want to do it on their own, while others would welcome their support person to coach or advise to help them get independent with some of the more interpersonal aspects of being on the job.
7. Try to give a personal heads up if there is a schedule or routine type change, that he may not pick up on automatically. A person with Asperger Syndrome will need some extra cueing at times. Keep the focus on the gifts, which brought this person to your work place and motivated you to hire him or her!
See the companion article Practical Tips to Help your Employee with Asperger Syndrome get Established In Your Office
Ellen Mossman-Glazer M. Ed. is a Life Skills Coach and Behavioral Specialist, specializing in Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, ADHD, and learning difficulties. Over her 20 years in special education classrooms and children's treatment settings, Ellen has seen the struggle that children have when they feel they don't fit in. She now works in private practice with people across the USA and Canada, by phone, teleconference groups and email, helping parents, educators, caregivers and their challenging loved ones, to find their own specific steps and tools to thrive. Ellen is the author of two on line e-zines, Emotion Matters: Tools and Tips for Working with Feelings and Social Skills: The Micro Steps. Subscribe for free and see more about Ellen at http://artofbehaviorchange.com/ You can take a free mini assessment which Ellen will reply to with your first action step.